Kristine Thomason is the health and fitness director at mindbodygreen.
With "hot girl walks" officially strolling into the zeitgeist in 2022, walking for well-being is more buzzy than ever—and the popularity is well deserved. Walking is a fantastic way to stay active and support overall health, with benefits linked to longevity, sleep quality, heart health, and more.
While mindbodygreen believes that taking your stroll outdoors is the gold standard, anything that gets you moving (and cuts down on sedentary time) will do the body good.
That's where home workout equipment comes into play. If you're feeling stagnant during your workday, these best under-desk treadmills could be just what you need.
A peek at the best under-desk treadmills of 2022:
A peek at the best under-desk treadmills of 2022:
What is an under-desk treadmill?
As the name implies, an under-desk treadmill is a compact piece of workout equipment that turns your office floor into a moving platform. There are two varieties:
- A pre-configured desk-treadmill unit
- A compact treadmill that can slip under your existing desk setup
How can adding an under-desk treadmill benefit your overall health?
Sitting for prolonged periods is a risk factor for various negative health outcomes. One study published in Sport Sciences for Health even found that sitting could have adverse effects on your mental well-being in addition to your physical health.
So naturally, one of the major benefits of a treadmill desk is that it encourages you to stay active throughout the day, even when you're tied to a computer or stuck in a meeting. "In my opinion, doing extra activity during the day is always a good thing," says elite personal trainer Chiheb Soumner, CPT, founder of Fairfax Training Club in Los Angeles.
"With a treadmill desk, you can literally get your steps in while getting your work done…plus you're more likely to have good posture with this setup." He notes this may be especially beneficial for anyone with an overwhelming, busy job who doesn't have too many opportunities to leave their office for a walking break.
Soumner points out that it's important to be mindful while multitasking with your under-desk treadmill—you don't want to trip or fall in the middle of a meeting. To mitigate this hazard, consider slowly acclimating to your new desk setup. Perhaps start with a walking meeting first before moving on to emails or more typing-intensive activities.
Another potential downside: the cost. Whereas walking is a free fitness activity, under-desk treadmills are not—but there are some budget-friendly options to consider.
If a treadmill desk aligns with your personal budget and lifestyle, it's a fantastic tool for supporting your well-being goals.
How to choose an under-desk treadmill.
When you're shopping for an under-desk treadmill, it's important to consider how you'll be using the piece of equipment. Are you looking for something that will claim a permanent home under your desk, or do you need a portable option you can stow away when the day is over?
If you're hoping to use the same treadmill for running, it's important to note speed ranges, too. You'll also want to consider whether you'll be working with other people in the room or using your treadmill while talking on work calls—in which case, you'll probably want a quieter model.
Ultimately, there are a wide range of under-desk treadmills on the market right now, with varying features. Taking your unique needs and concerns into account will help pinpoint a treadmill you'll feel satisfied with…and actually use. To help out, we've rounded up the best under-desk treadmills and included our criteria below.
How we picked:
Since this treadmill will live in your office, we took size into consideration and opted for compact options that will seamlessly fit underneath your desk.
We considered customer feedback, seeking out options with the highest ratings and most glowing reviews.
A loud piece of equipment isn't exactly conducive to a peaceful work environment—whether you're in a meeting or trying to focus on a task. We prioritized treadmill models that won't cause major disturbances.
While treadmills can certainly get expensive, we included a range of options to fit a variety of budgets and needs.
Our picks for the best under-desk treadmills of 2022:
- Smart-sensing speed control
- Remote control
- Foldable, easy for storage
- Lower max speed
- No incline
If you're looking for a truly compact treadmill for your home office, this foldable option from WalkingPad certainly delivers. The ultra-slim design slips seamlessly underneath a standing desk. When you're ready to store it, as one reviewer notes, it "folds up nicely and tucks away so it's not cluttering my office space when I do need to sit."
The treadmill also features "smart foot sensing speed control," which is meant to mitigate slips or falls, keeping you safe while you're walking and working. Just know, this convenient piece of equipment won't go any faster than 4 miles per hour, which means it isn't well suited for running or jogging.
It's built to last and is praised by various customers for being durable and convenient, even this frequent user who shares: "I'm putting about 20k steps on it everyday and it seems to be holding up just fine and the belt stays put."
Best budget: Sunny Health & Fitness SF-T1407M Foldable Manual Walking Treadmill
- Manual belt
- Good value
- May not fit under all standing desks
- Fixed incline
Just because this under-desk treadmill is more budget-friendly doesn't mean it's lacking in functionality or features (take its 3,695 perfect 5-star reviews as confirmation). The Sunny treadmill includes an LCD monitor to track your progress, displaying time, speed, and distance. Plus, it features a no-slip surface, so you'll feel more secure through every step. Since this treadmill is manual and doesn't require electricity, this compact treadmill is a more energy-efficient option.
On the flip side, as many reviewers point out, you have to hold on to the handles to keep the belt moving—so you probably can't use this one while typing. The handlebar may also interfere with how well the treadmill fits with some desk models.
Best with handrails: UREVO 2-in-1 Under Desk Treadmill
- Remote controlled
- Good for running, too
- 5-layer belt
- Slim walking belt
- Bluetooth connectivity issues
This 2-in-1 option is highly versatile, with plenty of features to fit your needs. The remote-controlled tread can reach speeds of 7.6 miles per hour, which means you can go for a walk, jog, or even run during your workday. As one reviewer notes: "I love that the max speed is higher than most other similar models I found—high enough to support a jog, if I'm just listening on a call."
Not to mention, it features a nonslip, shock-absorbing running belt, which is ideal for supporting your joints as you log miles.
While you can use the remote control for lower speeds, you need to download the app or use the buttons on the treadmill to go faster than 3.8 miles per hour.
The handrail is optional and can be folded away while not in use.
Best quiet: DAEYEGIM Under Desk Treadmill
- Compact & lightweight with wheels for easy transport
- LED display
- Anti-slip running belt
- No pause function
- 40 minute auto shutoff
Unless you find the steady hum of a treadmill belt soothing, you may want to consider a more quiet option for your office setting. While each of these treads has been vetted for noise, this one stands out as the quietest of the bunch—and reviewers agree, with one noting, "It is incredibly quiet, and I use it in my apartment with no issues." Another adds, "I'm walking at 2.8 right now and am easily able to type on my computer and concentrate on what I'm doing."
One not-so-great feature customers have called out is the auto shutoff function. The treadmill will automatically stop after 40 minutes of use, and then you'll be waiting 5 to 10 seconds before you can turn it back on. This is fine if you don't mind a break but not ideal for continuous use.
- High max speed
- 5-layer nonslip belt
- LED screen with Bluetooth speaker
- No incline
- Running only available with handlebar raised
Calling all runners: This is the best under-desk treadmill for you—whether you're new to running or a seasoned runner hoping to sneak in some miles during meetings. It offers a max speed of 8 miles per hour (approximately a 7.5-minute mile, for reference).
It's important to note that the tread only permits "running mode" when the handlebar is raised; otherwise, it won't exceed 3 miles per hour.
While the treadmill is a great, compact space-saver, the shorter belt size isn't meant for all strides, as noted by a few complaints from reviewers.
- Cushioned walking belt
- Auto speed adjustment
- Low max speed
- Fixed incline
For a truly space-saving treadmill, the Egofit walker is a great choice. Its 5% incline design gives you the option for a higher-intensity workout without cranking up your speed. The slope helps reduce this tread's overall footprint, making it perfect for smaller spaces. Customer reviews note that the petite size doesn't stifle their stride since this machine is mainly intended for walking.
While the incline certainly adds a heart-pumping challenge to your workday, the lower max speed is a bit limiting.
Best for speed options: GOYOUTH 2 in 1 Under Desk Electric Treadmill
- Various speed levels
- Remote control
- LED display
This under-desk treadmill has many bells and whistles, including an LED display that shows your progress, a nonslip running belt, and wireless speakers. Other notable highlights from customer reviews: a quiet belt, sturdiness, and quality customer service.
What's more, it comes preprogrammed with 12 exercise programs to choose from, if you're looking to change up your usual walking routine and make your workouts a bit more interesting. The remote-controlled speed ranges from 0.5 to 6 miles per hour.
At a max of 6 mph, you're looking at more of a jog than a run—something to note if you're interested in the latter.
- 3-in-1 unit
- Desk-tread combo
- High speeds
Perhaps the most versatile option on this list, this 3-in-1 treadmill desk offers the whole package, including a large removable table that attaches to the handrails, wide enough to comfortably hold your laptop. With the tray removed, you can use the treadmill with handlebars or fold the rails away entirely. Ultimately, this offers a great value, especially if you don't already own a standing desk.
For ease of use, this unit includes an LED display on both the remote control and the handlebar, to help monitor and adjust your speed as needed.
Thanks to the high max speed, many reviewers highlight using this treadmill for both walking and running, noting that it feels sturdy and stable during either activity.
Some customers do mention that the remote control can be a bit finicky.
Another potential downside is the higher price—but depending on your current needs, it could be an excellent value.
Are under-desk treadmills worth it?
If you're someone who spends a lot of stationary time behind your computer every day, using an under-desk treadmill could be a valuable addition to your routine. There are so many benefits to moving more throughout the day—so if this feels like a tool you'll actually use, it's a worthwhile investment.
Is an under-desk treadmill or bike better?
It really comes down to preference. The better option is the one you'll actually use.
Are under-desk treadmills good for running?
Not every option on the market is suited for running. In the list above, you'll see which are best equipped for higher speeds. While everyone's running pace is different, generally speaking, you'll want to look for a treadmill that can reach 6 mph or above.
Are under-desk treadmills safe?
There are some obvious hazards to using a treadmill while working, such as tripping, slipping, or falling. As long as you're mindful of multitasking, the concerns are pretty minimal and the risks are easy to avoid.
Any opportunity to increase your movement throughout the day is a win in our book. Whether you take more walking breaks, squeeze in a quick workout routine, or add a treadmill to your office—staying active is key. If you do decide to invest in an under-desk treadmill, consider how you plan to use it, and proceed accordingly. Looking for another great way to stay active from the comfort of your workspace? Check out these exercise bikes, or give these desk stretches a try.